A Letter to You

My heart is broken. 

Where did you go? Why did you leave me? Did you leave? Or did something happen to you? I don’t know.  I am scared and sad and my heart is just in a million pieces.  How could you do this to me? To us? You know I’d be worried.  You know I’d panic. You know I love you so much.  

The only explanation I could think of is that you were actually one of the bad guys. And Lord knows there are a lot of them out there.  But you, you were special, and good, and so full of integrity and honor. Its what I loved about you.  Right?

Was I not good enough? Did I push you away? Surely I was reasonable.  I did everything by your terms. Everything you asked me to. When you wanted to be exclusive the day after we met, I obliged. When you said I love you on date three, I said it back to you, even when I wasn’t sure, making myself believe it from that moment on.  When you asked me if I would marry you, I said yes, because I wanted to give you every bit of happiness I could. When you needed cash for gas money and for your son’s daycare I sent it to you, even when I was short for rent myself. When you did not wanna wear condoms I got on birth control,  trusting you to keep us safe.  When you acted in ways I would consider disrespectful in bed, I learnt to not hate it. When you wouldn’t go down on me, I still did it for you when you asked me.  When you did not want to reply to texts for hours I accepted that, choosing to believe your reasons. When you wanted to move in, I started making arrangements for it, not for a second stopping to wonder if you would pay the rent. When you asked me to meet your mother, I started learning Spanish so I could talk to her.  When you cancelled on meeting my friends the fourteenth time, I still invited you for event fifteen. When you did not take me out ever after our first date,  I justified that thinking that you probably could not afford it. When you said hurtful things to me every time I brought my concerns up respectfully, I apologised. When your past was potentially risky for my life and career, I brushed it off, trusting you to stay away from it. When your ex gf showed up in town, I trusted you to do the right thing.  When you said I promise you I’m gonna marry you the last time we met, I believed you.

Should I have? Because I haven’t heard from you since.   

 

Trader Joe’s 

I had a dream last night. It’s a simple story to tell. I met S again, and he proposes to me out on the blue the day we meet, and I say yes, and we live happily ever after.

I wake up, and immediately feel the lightness from the absence of a ring on my finger under the covers. I had apparently gotten really invested in this dream, believing it to be real. Talk about cruel jokes.

I guess with all the hullabaloo over the royal wedding tomorrow, my subconscious thought it could have its own little miracle.

Well, nice try.

While no one reading is likely to be surprised at my inclination for such dreams,  what I am is exasperated. I thought I was past the needing a marriage to be happy. I thought I was finally happy on my own.  I have found purpose beyond landing a guy. I want to become an expert in my field.  I want to become a writer. I want to become a Werq instructor.  I want to do humanitarian work.  I want to raise kids, possibly adopt. And all of these are my dreams that are mine alone,  not necessarily needing a pretty boy by my side while I do them. S? Really? Why can’t I get over that already?

I guess it has to have something to do with the fact that I went to bed sad at my relationship with J. Oh yes, J is still in the picture. Very much so. But it has been a struggle. I have been trying to be more open and understanding and trusting and that seemed to be working well for us. Yesterday was just a small discord,  but the thing with J is,  anytime there’s a little discord he says the meanest things. Things that my poor little heart can’t take. And then I end up having one of those days where I feel at the verge of tears any given moment. Tearful not just cause of that one thing, but because that triggers memories of all the things I shrugged off in the past. Like S cheating. Why did he have to go and do that? Or the horrific memories about people at work during my intern year. Why was I so gullible?

And no,  this is not about just wanting a wedding. Cause J has made it very clear that we are actually headed in that direction.  Last week,  for instance, he told me he wanted to move in.  That he wanted me to meet his mother. He said “That is the natural direction I want our relationship to go, and I hope you feel the same way”.  I mean,  things I had dreamed S would say for years. So then,  shouldn’t I be more happy,  and not be having dreams of engagements with my exes? What more do I need from him?  A 401k? Ugh.

To be fair, in the dream,  while I was certainly happy to be engaged to S, ‘relieved’ was a more accurate description of how I felt.  And oddly it did not feel right.  Like S would have been right for me at one point,  but not anymore. He is perfect for me in so many ways. We share so many likes, and had so much fun. But I wanted more. I wanted my guy to be more enamored with me, a la V, but not that much.  Like I want to feel secure enough to know he won’t cheat on me,  but he should only give me enough attention so I’m kept interested.

Come to think of it,  that’s exactly what J does. He has not exactly been as available like say, a regular guy with a job in finance would have been. And that frustrates me to no end.  We might have gone for plays or the symphony or something. Gone kayaking? Shopped together for groceries at Trader Joe’s? But J has been amazing and wonderful in so many other ways. He is tough, he is strong, he is righteous and honorable. He and I have the same values and politics. I already know he is an amazing father. These are things that may not be the case with the regular fuckboy from finance who goes to Whole Foods. Things that I should not be taking for granted. And, my friends say,  he is actually good looking, which I hadn’t noticed until now – looks aren’t the biggest deal to me. Plus he does have a degree from UCLA – kind of a big deal? He has a passion and career goals in MMA which he’s really good at. He is responsible enough to have been saving away for a college fund for his 3 year old. And, to top it all off, like Sarah Jessica Parker says in Sex and the City, he is an excellent spooner! Wtf is wrong with me?

Ok I should just chill.

Bye.

Bread.

Today is the 26th of October, 2017. Nine years ago today, sometime after midnight, ‘she’ had ceased to be. ‘Us’ was the only existence she knew since then.  Even now, when he no longer wanted any part of that.

She smiles through the pain at her memories. They were all she had. She held them close. They would always be hers, after all.

One of her most precious memories happened when they were in Sweden together. It was four years ago. As blessed as they were to be able to do an exchange scholarship together, they had had some of their worst fights in Sweden. They were all about the other woman. This was just a few months into her finding out. She was prone to angry outbursts, sobbing late into the night, hating him and loving him all at once. They fought for their love every day. He was determined to make up for what he did. Still, she was hurting, filled with doubts. About his love. About their future.

It was the end of April, the beginning of summer in Scandinavia. She had always wanted to check out the lake. And he was devoted to doing all he could to make her happy. So here they were, barbecuing. They were a long bus ride away from their dorm. But the setting was worth the hike, exactly as she had imagined it would be. It was a beautiful day. The lake was flanked by woods on all sides. There were barbecue tables set up in a clearing at the lake front. A group of music majors from the University were playing their violins nearby, as if they were a part of the forest.  Children were running around, screaming in glee. Retired couples were walking the forest trails, hand in hand. He was cooking. She was chatting away, forgetting all their troubles for a few moments. It was idyllic. And then, they ran out of bread.

Not a problem. She had remembered seeing the local ICA store on their way to the lake. She told him she would be back in no time. She ventured out on foot, like a dutiful girlfriend. Now this was back when Google Maps was not really an everyday thing.  So naturally it took her a while to find the store. Once she was there, she took her time selecting the best bread for her man. Some things, she reasoned, she could still make sure were perfect. She paid for the bread and started walking back. By then of course, her phone had run out of charge. No big deal, she thought. She had barely been gone half an hour. As she walked back through the woods, she hummed a song to herself. She was almost there. And then, she saw him. He was…running.

He was running towards her. Through the crowd. Like a madman. People were watching him. The music majors had stopped playing. For a moment she was puzzled. Why was he running?

As he scooped her up into his arms, she suddenly knew why. To her utter disbelief, she  realized that this grown-ass man, who was so tough that most people would think their life choices over before saying a cross word to him, was worried sick for her. This man, who had always hated making a scene of any sort, was unabashedly declaring his vulnerability to the world. She was his priority. She was his weakness. SHE was the love of his life.

At that moment, all of her doubts vanished.

Her.

Her fingers rested on the keyboard, wondering where to start. She had started many times before, only to stop immediately through unbearable tears. Now she felt that uncontrollable urge to write again. To pour out her self. Her weary, ragged self. Two years. It had been two years since she last knew happiness. Since she had been carrying that heaviness in her heart, that knot in her chest that let her know she may burst into tears at any moment. She had been with S for seven, eight years? Until she left him for the first smooth talking soldier that came along. She always had a thing for soldiers. Those damn men in uniforms. There was something undeniably romantic about being a soldier’s girl. Those first few days she had felt jubilant, feminine, beautiful even. Like those delicate women in movies who waited for their men at war. She sighs. How foolish had she been!

It was barely a month before her jubilation paved way for an uneasiness. And then horror. She realized that the smooth talking soldier couldn’t take the place of the man she had left behind. The man that she now realizes was home. She had thrown away almost a decade of love and friendship for her vanity. She had lost the love of her life.

It had felt like the absolute right thing to do at the time, she remembers wearily. She was so sure. Like an inevitable decision. Still, she remembers getting out of the house so she did not have to hide her agony from her mother who was visiting. She remembers walking to the park. There was no stopping the tears once she was there. Why was she crying if it was the right decision? Why did that not stop her in her tracks? Instead she had told the man who had done everything possible to make her happy, that she wanted a break. Over text. When it had been barely a week into a huge career setback for him. She had fucked him over when he was at rock bottom. She screwed her eyes shut trying to block out the memory.

She had pleaded with him and begged him since then to take her back. To no avail. He was beyond hurt. He said he had sworn off relationships, at least for the foreseeable future. Made sense. It was time to move on now, everyone said. She wanted to tell herself that she had accepted that it was over. But in her heart of hearts she knew she never could. She held out a glimmer of hope that he would show up at her door. Maybe this weekend?

She feels a flash of anger. It was one of those rare moments she remembered why she might have left him in the first place. She sighs. If infidelity were a person she would tell them to go fuck themselves.

They had been together almost five years when that woman destroyed her world. A. She din’t let herself remember the details for fear it would unravel her. Like she did at church today. One minute she was thinking the ‘exchange of peace’ was her favorite part of mass, the next tears were rolling out of her eyes. It baffled her. She struggled to wipe them away discreetly, her voice faltering on the hymn that she knew so well. She wonders how the woman must be doing now. She surely must have heard they broke up. Ugh. She felt weak again. Well. She was always weak. Her protected Catholic upbringing had not prepared her for the other women. It had not prepared her for the aftermath of  her man’s infidelity. She had struggled to get over it for three years.  She could not fathom how someone could do that to a person they love. Maybe she would be able to get over it if she did it herself. Jeez. She had been young and stupid. And a perfect fool for the next smooth-talking soldier that came her way.

She wipes her tears again now at her kitchen table trying to put in words the anguish that permeated every moment of her life. It had been a real roller coaster. She had felt empowered this morning. Maybe she din’t need a man after all! She had made herself coffee, watched the morning news, had a long shower before stepping out for mass. It was a cool fall day, slightly overcast – her favorite kind. Then she had looked up her clinic patients for the next day, deposited cash at the ATM and paid her bills. She had felt like a responsible adult. She had then settled down under the covers for a few hours of Netflix. She had been on the road for a month interviewing – she deserved rest, she reasoned. Before she knew it, night fell. Darkness crept into her room and her mind. She absently Facebook-ed his name again.

He wasn’t at all active on social media these days so she had to be satisfied with looking at his old posts. Something about him wanting milf’s back in 2012. Wtf. Yeah, they were still together then. Year six. The guys in their class were telling him something about him already having one. He retorts, “Which bloody idiot would not want more than one?” God. She thinks. Offensive to her on so many levels. She hates herself for still wanting his arms wrapped around her. She wants to confront him about the post. She decides against it. She gets up. She needs to get up. She should get out of the house. Maybe she would go out for groceries. Wait, she needs to get her laundry done first. She gets the washing machine going and then sits back down to write.